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Embracing inclusive design and fostering accessibility for all

Photo of Brian, Sopra Steria's UK Accessibility SME with the quote "accessibility awareness is crucial today, especially in the digital landscape, and organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of inclusive design"

Article by Brain Wall, Sopra Steria's UK Accessibility Subject Matter Expert

Yesterday was Global Accessibility Awareness Day. An opportunity to talk, think and learn about access and inclusion, in the hope of breaking down barriers and creating more positive working environments for all. It encourages us to pause and reflect, celebrate the progress that has been made, and acknowledge that there will always be ways in which we can improve diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.

I’m passionate about ensuring the workplace is more inclusive for those who have accessibility challenges and it’s my job to ensure improving accessibility is something we as a business will continually focus on. Having a clear intention to improve accessibility standards should be a priority for every organisation, so that colleagues feel supported, seen and heard, and can reach their full potential. Here are my top three suggestions of how to start making this possible.  

Incorporating Web Content Accessibility Guidelines design standards

Accessibility awareness is crucial today, especially in the digital landscape, and organisations are increasingly recognising the importance of inclusive design. One way Sopra Steria promotes accessibility is by incorporating the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) design standards into business practices. By following this approach, organisations can ensure that the services they provide meet the necessary accessibility criteria. This not only demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity, but also helps avoid rework in the future. Reviewing and amending any work that does not meet the WCAG design standards displays a dedication to providing equal access to everyone.

Considering accessibility at the design stage

It is important to recognise accessibility concerns from the design stage itself. Oversights and mistakes can have negative implications for accessibility, some of which may result in services and products which are inaccessible to disabled people. By incorporating accessibility best practices into the design process, such as conducting usability testing with disabled people and following accessibility guidelines, organisations can prevent accessibility issues before they arise.

Investing in inclusivity-led initiatives and flexible working

Acknowledging the importance of accessibility awareness, we have allocated funding for an additional role in our Human Resources team. This role will support the implementation of reasonable adjustments to ensure accessibility for all employees. It aims to provide colleagues with the necessary support to perform their jobs effectively, fostering a sense of inclusivity and helping them to thrive in the workplace.

By investing in this kind of dedicated resource, organisations are able to demonstrate a commitment to creating an inclusive work environment where disabled people have equal opportunities.

It’s clear though, that achieving systematic change requires collective effort and engagement from all employees throughout an organisation. An important part of my role is to raise awareness about accessibility throughout our business, including training programmes, workshops, and awareness campaigns. By promoting accessibility, we aim to grow an inclusive culture and empower employees to champion accessibility in their roles.

At Sopra Steria, we recognise that everyone has individual needs and that these may change from day to day. Our strategy promotes work-life balance and general employee wellbeing while also improving accessibility. For example, we understand the importance of flexible and remote working options in fostering accessibility. The independence and freedom to work in settings that best suit their needs can be given to disabled people through remote work, flexible hours, and alternative workspaces.

We’re making significant progress in improving accessibility in our workplace, but we know there is still so much more to do. We’ll keep striving for a more inclusive and accessible organisation for all our people, with clear commitment and intention. The following quote from Howard Zinn says it all really:

"We don't have to engage in grand heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts when multiplied by many people can transform the world."

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Hi there!We’re glad you’ve found us. Hopefully, you’ve arrived here because you’re curious about a career with us here at Sopra Steria – and that’s great, because we love people who are curious, inquisitive, like to challenge the status quo, and above all, want to help shape the world for the better.A little bit about us...Our business is, first and foremost, about people. And it always has been. The solutions we develop are driven by the connections they make and the problems they solve. Our services only matter if they work for people and if they serve a greater purpose. Known for our collaborative approach, we provide consulting and digital services, creating innovative solutions, at scale, to deliver sustainable growth and services that make life better.Our work touches many lives in the UK. From helping the Government provide essential public and health services that offer more convenience and choice, to improving financial services to deliver fairer, customer-centric solutions. We’re a big company, with an even bigger heart. We might be big, but thanks to our culture - recognised in the Great Place to Work’s® UK's Best Workplaces™ rankings, we’ve retained a small, friendly team approach. We’re one community, all determined to do the right thing by our clients, customers and colleagues.It’s a fact that happy employees make successful businesses, and at Sopra Steria, you can expect a welcoming, inclusive culture that embraces individuality, encourages great thinkers and celebrates success.Hear from our employees in this video about what makes Sopra Steria a great place to work:Our VisionThe world is how we shape it and we’re shaping it for the better – as an innovative partner, driving positive change in business and society. Our business is, first and foremost, about people. Our services only matter if they work for people and, for us, if they serve a greater purpose too.Our people feel proud to be part of a business whose services and solutions are crucial to the running and wellbeing of the UK. And, in turn, we’re proud to support our people to reach their full potential.From the very beginning, we’ve been conscious of how our business should play a wider role in society and make a positive impact. As we grow, we’re looking for talented and caring people to join us.Watch this to hear Our Story and discover more about who we are, what we do, and, most importantly, why we do it…to make a difference and drive positive change in business and society.The shape of our UK businessOur Sopra Steria family in the UK comprises seven brands.Among those are our Joint Venture businesses. Essential organisations including the NHS, Home Office, Financial Conduct Authority and Metropolitan Police trust us to deliver services that are crucial to the running and wellbeing of the UK.In a truly collaborative way of working where strategy and decisions are made jointly, we harness our skills, experience, and passion to help the government find solutions, re-imagine public services, and make lives better in the digital age. Our people are motivated knowing their roles have a genuine sense of purpose.The Sopra Steria UK familySopra Steria is recognised for our activities in consulting, digital services and software development. We provide end-to-end solutions to make our clients more competitive, combining in-depth sector knowledge and innovative technologies with a fully collaborative approach.To read more about us and our Joint Venture Businesses, please click here.Diversity & InclusionDiversity and Inclusion at Sopra Steria means celebrating real people, doing good for people and doing right by people. It means valuing difference, working with empathy, engaging with our communities and respecting each other. It means believing, together, we can shape our world for the better.We’re inspired by the possibilities that come from working together and embracing differences.From seeking diversity in recruitment to nurturing our existing talent – we want to make sure that Sopra Steria is an organisation where everyone feels like they belong. Where their uniqueness is valued. Where they can be themselves. And where everyone has a fair chance to progress and reach their highest potential.This commitment is reflected in our Great Place to Work® UK survey results, where we scored over 80% favourable in all the fair treatment questions, and by our Great Place to Work® UK's Best Workplaces™ ranking. It is also underlined by our partnership with VERCIDA – a platform that connects job seekers with employers that prioritise diversity, inclusion and wellbeing.Our growing family of employee inclusion networks are working together to influence and support our efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive organisation.The networks are only one part of our Diversity & Inclusion story. We also invest in other ways.Here’s how:We welcome - We’ve created a suite of tools to help our recruitment teams and managers reinforce a more inclusive hiring culture and to redress the balance in our organisation.We pledge - Zero tolerance. All employees are called upon to work together to stamp out bullying, offensive and insensitive behaviour in our workplace, of all shapes and forms.We communicate - Our regular D&I updates provide a round-up of news about recent events and initiatives.We develop - As well as training all managers on unconscious bias, we partner with leading specialists to make sure our recruitment and career development processes and practices are inclusive and diverse.We learn - Our ‘In My Shoes’ initiative involved gathering stories from people in under-represented groups in the business. The programme aimed to share workplace experiences and help everyone feel comfortable being themselves.We mentor - We guarantee that anyone who applies to have a mentor on our female mentoring programme will have one. We have also introduced a new programme to offer support specifically to Black and Ethnic Minority employees.We celebrate - Our employee inclusion networks hold frequent events to raise awareness, have fun and support each other. From International Women’s Day events to Disability Awareness and LGBTQIA+ Pride Lunch and Learns, and from Race at Work discussions to World Culture Day and more, we embrace the rich diversity that makes up our unique organisation.What's it actually like to work at Sopra Steria?Hear from real people working in the below types of roles:ServiceNowArchitectureData

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